For more detailed information, please change to the German version of this website.

Dr. Maximilian Haas

Research Project

New Baroque Worlds of Knowledge:
On the Current Relevance of Premodern Cosmologies in Contemporary Art and Theory

Philosophical world-models from the baroque are experiencing a renewal in contemporary attempts to move beyond (post)modern conditions of theoretical thought and artistic action: self-referentiality, anthropocentrism and logocentrism, and the binary-hierarchical oppositions of nature and technology, body and spirit, matter and meaning. At stake is nothing less than a reorganization of the cosmos as an object of knowledge and a new determination of the human position therein. In the wake of new materialism (and realism), theory and art thereby reference two systems of thought that stand apart from the Cartesian tradition of baroque philosophy, namely, Leibniz's Monadology (1714) and Spinoza’s Ethics (1677). Moreover, baroque formats for presenting (and producing) art and knowledge, such as chambers of art, cabinets of curiosities, or encyclopedias, are experiencing a revival. This project develops between four thematic areas: 1. cosmological theories of the baroque; 2. baroque exhibition practices; 3. theories of new materialism and their conceptual and systematic references to baroque cosmologies; and 4. examples of contemporary exhibition and performance practices that are oriented toward baroque formats. These four areas are examined in relation to each other, in different constellations, in order to critically assess the aesthetic, theoretical, and political applications and consequence of contemporary references to the baroque. Pre- and postmodern are thereby construed heuristically as mirror figures, although the analytical focus lies on moments of incongruence. A central object of the examination is dOCUMENTA (13) curated by Christov-Bakargiev in 2012.

Please note that these listings appear in the language they were originally published.



Dr. Maximilian Haas is a dramaturge and a scholar of performance and media, based in Berlin. Haas was a substitute junior professor for literature and the history of knowledge and media at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt/Oder. Haas studied applied theater studies at Justus Leibig University in Giessen and defended a dissertation in media studies at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne on the topic of Animals on Stage: An Aesthetic Ecology of Performance. This PhD project developed within the framework of the DFG Research Training Group “Forms of Life+Forms of Knowledge” (Potsdam, Frankfurt/Oder) and consists of an artistic research project, the performance series Balthazar (with David Weber-Krebs). Haas has taught courses at universities and colleges of art in Giessen, Cologne, Bochum, Berlin, Dresden, and Vienna. His academic presentations and articles from the last several years have focused above all on the aesthetics of contemporary (performative) art and themes of science and animal studies, in addition to the philosophy of poststructuralism, new materialism, and pragmatism. Haas has worked at the Volksbühne Berlin and collaborated as a dramaturge with artists including David Weber-Krebs, Hannah Hurtzig (Mobile Academy Berlin), Martin Nachbar, and Jeremy Wade. He has also organized several conferences and workshops, most recently the conference “Portraying Animals” in the National Gallery of Prague (June 2015 with Hannah Hurtzig) and the workshop “Animal Dances” in the Sophiensaele Berlin (May 2016 with Martin Nachbar).



Tiere auf der Bühne. Eine ästhetische Ökologie der Performance, Berlin: Kadmos, 2018.

„Die abstrakte und die konkrete Maschine als Protagonist. Über Performances von Kris Verdonck und Xavier Le Roy“, in: Maschinen des Lebens – Leben der Maschinen. Zur historischen Epistemologie und Metaphorologie von Maschine und Leben, Berlin: Kadmos, 2018.

"Cosmology of Forces, Performative Fields“ in: Energetic Forces as Aesthetic Interventions. Politics of bodily scenarios, hg. von Sabine Huschka und Barbara Gronau, Bielefeld: transcript, im Erscheinen.

„Does the donkey act? Balthazar as Protagonist“, in: Performance and Posthumanism: Staging Prototypes of Composite Bodies, London: Palgrave Macmillan, im Erscheinen.

„Theoretische Bemerkungen zu einer Dramaturgie der nichtmenschlichen Anderen (nach Haraway)", in: Postdramaturgien, hg. von Sandra Umathum und Jan Deck, Berlin: Neofelis, erscheint 2019.

„Ästhetische Ökologie: Jakob von Uexkülls Musiktheorie des Lebens", in: Tierstudien 13: Ökologie, hg. von Jessica Ullrich, Berlin: Neofelis, 2018.

„Kuratorische Symbolisierung. Über eine politische Geste der Documenta14", in: Learning from. Texte zur Documenta 14, Onlinejournal

„The Abyss of a Standstill", mit David Weber-Krebs, in Scores #6: no/things, hg. von Tanzquartier Wien, 2017.

„Bühnen des Nicht-Menschlichen“, in: Episteme des Theaters, hg. von Milena Cairo, Moritz Hannemann, Ulrike Haß und Judith Schäfer, Bielefeld: Transcript, 2016.

„Versuch einer Kosmologie des Performativen in der Kunst. Über Alfred North Whitehead und Pierre Huyghe", in: Kosmos & Kontingenz, hg. von Philipp Weber, Tim Sparenberg und Reto Rössler, München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 2016

„Balthazar“, in: Antennae–The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture: Multispecies Intra-Action, Nr. 31, Spring 2015.

„Interspecies Performance zwischen Literatur und Theater, Ethik und Ästhetik“, in: Tierstudien 8: Wild, Berlin: Neofelis, 2015.

„Zwei Arten von Zombies“, in: Suspensionen. Über das Untote, Paderborn: Fink, 2015.

„Balthazar. Ein Tier auf der Bühne“, in: Theater der Zeit, Heft Nr. 9, September 2014.

„Report über ein Tier auf der Bühne: der Esel Balthazar“, in: Tierstudien 1: Animalität und Ästhetik, Berlin: Neofelis, 2012.

„Künstlerische Mittel ohne Zweck“, in: Performing Politics: Politisch Kunst machen nach dem 20. Jahrhundert, Berlin: Theater der Zeit Verlag, 2012.

„Von Auschwitz schweigen: Sprachlosigkeit und Shoah“, Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Theaterwissenschaft (Thewis), Ausgabe 10/10, Juni 2010, mit Elise von Bernstorff.